Leafs know they must improve in shootouts

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

Even the return of Kyle Wellwood couldn't help the Maple Leafs solve their shootout woes last night in Montreal.

While Wellwood registered a goal and an assist during regulation, he was one of three Leafs shooters who missed during the shootout. Mats Sundin was the only Leaf to score.

The loss dropped the Leafs to just 4-7 in shootouts this season including a poor 1-3 record against the Habs.

"Teams are great at it and we have to find a way to be one of those teams," Wellwood said after Toronto's 3-2 defeat to the host Habs.

Said goaltender Andrew Raycroft: "It's disappointing not to get the two points but it's not the end of the world."

It didn't take long for Wellwood and Carlo Colaiacovo to show their worth last night.

Just 24 hours after sitting out the Maple Leafs moribund 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, Wellwood and Colaiacovo made an instant impact.

Both players teamed up with Bryan McCabe to score the Leafs first goal at 15:01 of the first period.

Wellwood finished off the play with a nifty deke of Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak to tie the game 1-1. Colaiacovo and McCabe drew the assists on Wellwood's 10th goal of the season.

For Wellwood, the rehab continues from the hernia surgery he underwent about two months ago.

"I don't think I would have been able to go back-to-back," Wellwood said. "(Health-wise) nothing's where I'd like it to be but this late in the season you have to suck it up and try to play when you can, especially for big games like this."

Colaiacovo missed the Washington game with what the Leafs describe as a "lower-body injury."

ICE CAPADES

The Maple Leafs didn't arrive in snowy Montreal from Washington until 3 a.m. yesterday.

Part of the problem was that they were backed up for more than an hour at the Washington-area airport waiting for their plane to be de-iced.

VERTIGO ... WHAT VERTIGO?

The Habs welcomed back a familiar face of their own to the lineup in the form of enigmatic forward Alexei Kovalev, who had been out the previous two games with a case of vertigo.

Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said Kovalev skated for nearly an hour on Friday and again yesterday morning and felt fine.

Kovalev, like Wellwood and Colaiacovo, made an impact in the early going, controlling the puck in the game's opening moments. Leafs defenceman Ian White finally high-sticked Kovalev's helmet off his head in an attempt to slow down the shifty winger and received a two-minute high-sticking minor for his efforts.


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